Arrived during Carnival so nothing open

Trip Start Sep 25, 2011
Trip End May 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Apartment on Santa Fe
What I did
Recolleta Cemetary, Tigre and the Rio Plata Delta, Botanical Gardens in Palermo

Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, February 20, 2012

I arrived by a 1.5 hour busride on Buquebus from Piriopolis  to Montevideo and then took a 3.5 hour Buquebus ferry to Buenos Aries.  Thanks Ron and Delise┤s help in finding an apartment (through BuenosAriesStays) and then locating it on a map, i actually could walk from the ferry dock to my apartment (lots on offer, cheaper than hotels and a party hostel in the same area was not going to work for me.)   It took asking a couple of people who confirmed I was going in the right direction, and actually made it to the apartment early.  Even after I had to spend some time making my query known to the only business open in the mall which had the address I was given on Sante Fe, just off of a 16 lane (yes!) avenue called 9 de Julio.  The apartment actually (I was on the 10th floor) begins on the second floor of the mall so it took a little while for me to get the drift from what i was told.  Also nothing! was open it seemd, for a Buenos Aries Monday at 5 p.m.! and it turned out it was the 3 day of a four day holiday and everything shuts down and people leave for the beaches, often in Uruguay (it seemed most tourists in Piriopolis and Punta del Este were from Argentina).
 Got to apartment fine, walked straight up Cordoba, crossed and turned right at 9 de Julio and walked 3 blocks to Sante Fe and in fact i was early and they were still cleaning.  but they is the owner, who lives in New York, and his girlfriend, as was all of Buenos aries, including his cleaning person, was on holidays for Carnaval. I was charged an extra amount for and out of hours call.. So lots of disappointing non-cleaning like little mats not vacuumed, microwave and drawers filthy, no flat screen tv  as advertised  on Buenos Aries apartment stays website and no soap,  or dish towels!  anyway i pointed out it wasnt very clean, and he got defensive saying he did it himself on holiday so that i could have accommodation!  he is a sweet man, so i felt bad but....  
Wifi was advertised but not working in
apartment! and owner said he would bring his laptop to test it on Wed.  although he came he forgot to bring it and in the meantime, my Samsung tablet conked out so I couldn┤t even use it I took it to a Samsung dealer kind of repair shop and he tried it and suggested I contact the toll free Samsung number which he looked up for me. I was pretty upset as I read the fine print in my warranty and it says if you take it out of the country in which it was purchased, the warranty is null and void HAH!  And also if you use non Samsung authorized stuff on it it was void too.   I had to buy (cost only $1) a e˝ectrical outlet adapter in Uruguay for the different voltage in SOuth America and so I thought it had blown the battery somehow although the Samsung guy here checked it and where I bought it in Uruguay both said it should be fine to use. Over the next few days I tried it over and over, it just wouldn┤t turn on at all, nor would it show that it was recharging, as it would do when plugged in.  I finally got around, after a few days of trying to get it going, and resolved I had to call the toll free number.  But it was an Argentina number and it was this past Monday, which was another Argentinian holiday!  no one seemed to know what it was for though, just that the President had declared it!  So it was not open so I tried the 1800 Samsung in the US number and spoke to someone there who said I had to call the country number where i bought it, so she gave me a Canadian number.  But i asked her about my issue anyway and she said just hold the power button down for5 seconds which i had done repeatedly before over the past few days.    but i thought to humour her...and it turned on!  It was truly a miracle and now it is working again.  Sometimes I have angels sitting on my shoulder, I know sounds crazy but there you go.
   Tuesday nothing open either but I did manage to find Avenida de Mayo and had a free tour of Casa Rosado w hich used to be the President┤s HQ and is still used for certain functions by her (Christina Kirchner) and I walked the peopleless wide boulevards for several hours, which was great as without traffic of any kind either. 
THe next day I got a Hop On Hop Off bus ticket, after lining up for over an hour, and i managed to squeeze in a whole 3 hour trip the first day and another the second day before my 24 hours  was up!  Got off at the famous Recoletta Cemetary and it is like an entire city to itself.  I thought there were some similarities to the New Orleans Cemetary which I thought was big and like a city too  but pales by comparison.

On Sunday I went to Tigre about an hour away by a local train and changed at Mitre, as per guidebook suggestion, to the Tren de la Costa, as it goes along the coastline  to Tigre.  The BA train station is huge and old and crowded but I found the place to buy a return  ticketto Mitre and managed to speak a few words in Spanish to do so and once off in Mitre most of the passengers make therir wqay as I did, through a long hallway way which appeared to be a kind of mall for second hand furniture and antiques and a couple of bars where people could play games.   It was the weirdest thing to do to change stations,  Then at the other end I had to buy a return ticket from Mitre to Tigre, the delta of the Rio Plata which was quite interesting. I took a Catamaran boat tour of a bit of the delta and it was a nice refreshing way to spend an hour as it was very hot in Tigre, even though on the river.  Lots of cabins for rent along the river and some people live there year around.  The river is dirty brown, from the slit brought in through the current, according to my guidebook.  Not inviting to swim or eat the fish, but people were swimming and fishing! 
I went to the afternoon Milonga (tango dancing) at Confiteria Ideal in downtown BA.  Tango classes are given there including those by Eduardo whom an acquaintance I met in Yellowknife who now lives in BA recommended and who is involved with his dancing business.   I only went to check the dancing out and to look at the shoes and clothes people wear.  Well those who were dancing were really good and included all ages.  They all had the proper shoes and as I was in sandals i felt out of place but did what I went for.  My friend who coincidentally is now in Vancouver for a break so i will miss seeing her, recommended by email a couple of shoe stores to try to get tango shoes, as she had told Eduardo I might drop into his class that afternoon at 3;30 and I wanted to have a pair of tango shoes as I noted those the day before.  One of the stores she recommended was only about a 15 minute walk away from my cheap hotel on Avenida de Mayo and easy to find.   Even though ˇpen for business┤the door was locked as most businesses are I find, even hairdressers!  At 10 a.m. there were people already buying shoes, and more people piled in to this small but obvious popular place.  All were tourists.
I actually bought the first pair i tried on, a shorter heel which are few in supply and wore them to the group class that afternoon. As it was I wore my new shoes and am not used to wearing heels -- i was afraid i would fall but avoided it
and they stayed pretty comfortable.  Eduardo and the other teachers do a
great job of teaching multi levels, and trying to give the ßlways┤extra
women enough one on one practice. I really loved the music.
I am at the Retiro omnibus estacion in Buenos Aries waiting or my 19
hour bus ride to Salta in northern Argentina.  Friends of mine in YK
have been there and recommended it.  Every day here it seems there is a
'manifestation' aka a street demonstration about some issue (yesterday
the Maldives, and today I note something about the Communist party
complete with brass band) and it ties up and blocks off traffic.  So the
taxi driver was not happy picking up a tourist who he could hardly
understand (me) and then navigate therough the terrible traffic but i
think he should be used to it by now.  I realize the few days i was here
when it was national holiday how peaceful and quiet it was.  i am
afraid i am going to post the same mesge to the blog i am trying to
complete about my trip here.  I find the Argentinians not as friendly to
tourists - at least not to me anyway so not sure about others -  as
Uraguayians, but some it is machismo I think and self conscious that
they don┤t speak English...

I am leaving
for Salta tomorrow but will try to do other classes perhaps there,   i
need to get some wear from my shoes.... no dancing partnet doesn┤t help!
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